Show guide: 10 Good reasons to attend EIBTM

Leanne Bell takes a look at what's in store for visitors at the annual global meetings and incentives exhibition in Barcelona this year.

1. TECHNOLOGY HOUR

For the first time in the history of EIBTM, there will be an hour-long technology seminar each day, from 1pm-2pm. The Technology Hour has been introduced following last year's post-EIBTM survey, which found that 70 per cent of hosted buyers were looking for new technology at the show.

Each day, different technology-related topics will be discussed in interactive sessions led by industry experts. Planned topics include 'top technology trends transforming the events and meetings industry'. One of the scheduled debates is on whether 'technology brings you closer to your customers', which will be moderated by Ovation Group managing director Patrick Delaney.

The winner of the EIBTM 2007 Worldwide Technology Watch competition will be announced at the show, having demonstrated an innovative product for the meetings industry.

2. CHILL-OUT AREAS

Between meetings, delegates can head for the Spa and Wellbeing Area, where they can relax and be pampered by masseurs and therapists from Spa by Trimlife. A variety of treatments will be on offer in the area, which will provide a tranquil haven away from the bustle of the show floor. Delegates can also make the most of the Spa Bar and yoga sessions.

A complimentary internet cafe and Global Media Partners Lounge will also be available, offering a chance to catch up with the latest international industry news in 50 leading trade publications.

Three Hosted Buyer Lounges will provide dedicated areas for relaxation and networking. One of them is new - created to cater for an anticipated ten per cent increase in hosted buyers attending the show in 2007 - and will offer a complimentary buffet lunch.

3. AGENCY EDUCATION PROGRAMME

This hosted-buyer programme provides structured education that caters to agents, professional conference organisers and independent meeting planners.

On 27 November, from 9.30am-10.30am, a session entitled 'To improve your business, try to understand better who is buying and how' will be presented by the European Institute of Purchasing Management's Bernard Gracia.

The following day from 10.30am-11.30am, 'Beyond cost savings - a new approach for leveraging meetings, events and incentives to achieve business results' is due to be presented by Maritz Travel Company's president and chief executive, Christine Duffy.

The agency professional education programme is run in conjunction with Meeting Professionals International.

4. CORPORATE EDUCATION PROGRAMME

Designed to provide professional education that specifically caters for meeting planners from corporate organisations, this programme offers two educational sessions and a networking event in conjunction with Leading Hotels of the World.

The 27 November session, 'Meeting evaluation and ROI', will be presented by the ROI Institute's Elling Hamso. The following day, Hamso will present a different seminar: 'Online project management'.

The corporate professional education programme was established in 2005 and is believed to be the only international programme of its kind that targets corporates.

5. ASSOCIATION EDUCATION PROGRAMME

The association programme has been running for six years and this year is being presented in a new format. It will offer education sessions and networking events.

As part of the programme on 27 November, practical sessions are scheduled on the subjects of CSR, the future impacts of legislation, technology for associations and RFP writing and evaluation.

Educational workshops due to take place on 28 November will cover event marketing, effective committee structure and management for associations, risk/crisis management and 'growing' an international association.

The programme is sponsored by the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Vienna and Birmingham convention bureaux, GL events - Acropolis - Nice, and Centre de Congres-Lyon.

6. EIBTM MEETINGS AND INCENTIVES INDUSTRY AWARDS 2007

These awards are designed to recognise event organisers' and marketers' imaginative skills and professional execution of ideas. The winners, due to be announced in advance of EIBTM, will receive their awards in a ceremony at the show.

Categories include the new Best Special Event award, which covers one-off business-related events including award and charity events. The others are Best Conference for less than 250 pax, Best Conference for more than 250 pax, Best Product Launch, Best Incentive Programme and Best Marketing Campaign.

The judges will be made up of an international panel of industry consultants and suppliers and the editors of supporting media partners.

7. LOCATION

EIBTM will be held in the Fira Gran Via, Montjuic 2 complex in Barcelona. It has an exhibition area on one level, a host of catering outlets, and is located near the city centre. It is also close to the airport. The historic venue is undergoing renovation and includes the Barcelona Congress Centre.

Barcelona was rated the most popular city in which to hold association meetings in 2005, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) International Meetings Market Report.

8. HOSTED BUYER PROGRAMME

The EIBTM Hosted Buyer Programme unites exhibitors with the C&I industry's senior buyers. Appointments for hosted buyers are scheduled with exhibitors of their choice, providing myriad business opportunities.

Delegates who join receive a personal online diary featuring scheduled appointments. It allows them to request additional meetings with exhibitors, access to the Hosted Buyer Professional Education Programme, networking opportunities, access to the three hosted buyer lounges and the opportunity to attend post-event tours.

Applicants to the programme must meet strict criteria - a proviso intended to encourage the attendance of quality buyers. These criteria are based on the number of annual international events, purchasing authority, annual budget, the amount of international business conducted and potential for future overseas business.

9. BIGGER AND BETTER EXHIBITOR STANDS

This year, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Croatia, Australia, Hong Kong and Argentina have increased the size of their stands. Chile's is 150 per cent larger and the Dominican Republic Tourist Office's is 25 per cent bigger than last year.

There will also be a number of specialist areas, including EIBTM's first dedicated Mediterranean area within the European section.

The Event Services Village @ EIBTM, now in its third year, features a raft of support services for C&I travel. It has grown because more exhibitors have requested stand space. Exhibitors will showcase everything from AV, entertainment and motivational products to production equipment and name badges.

10. MPI TECHNOLOGY VILLAGE @ EIBTM

This village of exhibitors, now sold out, will showcase innovative products from leading technology suppliers. Items on show will be in the fields of audience polling, exhibition management, e-marketing, communications, budgeting, online event and meetings management and online registration, among others.

EIBTM exhibition director Mandy Torrens says the MPI Technology Village is constantly growing in popularity. "The technological advances are driving the need for EIBTM to provide a larger area so that new companies can launch their products to the industry," she says. "We will be looking to achieve greater prominence for them in the coming years and will be working with our exhibitors to ensure we keep creating the best possible environment for them."

FACTFILE
Where: Fira Gran Via, Montjuic 2, Barcelona, Spain
When: 27-28 November 10am-6pm, 29 November 10am-5pm
Getting there: Free shuttle buses are provided to and from the airport,
city centre, hotels and the exhibition venue
Register at www.eibtm.com

SEMINARS

Education Highlights

This year's EIBTM show offers a wide range of learning opportunities. For details go to www.eibtm.com/education

27 NOVEMBER

09.00-10.00

"Using community and government relations to advance your position" presented by Rod Cameron of AIPC

10.00-11.00

UNWTO/RTE/ICCA/MPI presentation on measuring the economic importance of the meetings industry

11.00-12.30

Launch of EIBTM 2007 industry trends and market share report, presented by Rob Davidson of EIBTM

12.00-13.00

SITE young leaders seminar: "The NOW Factor - examining the power of incentives for Generation Y"

13.00-14.00

The Technology Hour: "The top technology trends transforming the events and meetings Industry" presented by Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates

28 NOVEMBER

09.00-10.00

Panel discussion: "Successful RFPs for bids - do we understand each other?"

09.00-10.00

"Energy for performance" presented by Kevin Cottam of Aspire4excellence

09.00-10.00

Industry research results: regional studies focusing on the meetings industry in the Middle East and China, presented by Reed Travel Exhibitions

13.00-14.30

The annual EIBTM technology debate: "Is future technology a good thing for our meetings industry?" With Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates and Tony Carey, international writer and consultant. Followed by EIBTM WorldWide Technology Watch winner presentation

14.30-16.30

Corporate social responsibility symposium

29 NOVEMBER

09.00-10.00

SITE seminar: "Crystal balls and toolkits - What 2008 might mean for incentive travel, and how to be prepared"

09.00-10.00

Review of EIBTM 2007 industry trends and marketing share report

13.00-14.00

The Technology Hour: "Social networking: What is it? Who uses it and how can it help me?" presented by Mike Southon of Beermat.Biz

NETWORKING

A great place to meet

There will be plenty of opportunities to strengthen business relationships and socialise with the estimated 2,700 suppliers and 6,000 hosted buyers, trade visitors and journalists at EIBTM 2007. All visitors are invited to the numerous networking functions being held at the show.

The EIBTM Welcome Reception on 27 November will give delegates the opportunity to party in true Catalan style and takes place from 6pm-8pm in Pavilion 1.1, next to the exhibition hall at the Fira Gran Via.

Pack your dancing shoes for the EIBTM Club Night at Barcelona's trendy Club Catwalk on 28 November. Dark glasses will come in handy for the following morning, as the party is scheduled to last late into the night.

The association hosted buyer programme also includes networking opportunities. On 27 November there's a networking buffet lunch and a cava reception later on, followed by a networking breakfast the next day. A networking evening in association with EIBTM and ICCA is also scheduled.

Erica Keogan, who works on events and special projects for EIBTM, points to the increased number of networking opportunities included in the association programme this year. "All will facilitate the continuation of discussion and sharing of experiences between delegates and ensure an enlightening and valuable educational time in Barcelona," she says.

A networking evening reception, held in conjunction with The Leading Hotels of the World, is being held for corporate delegates on 27 November.

Delegates who want to network between daytime appointments should head to the three hosted buyer lounges at the venue, internet cafe or Global Media Partners Lounge. For those who would like to combine networking with relaxation, the Spa and Wellbeing Area is the perfect spot.

MICE Consult International - Globalevents Germany managing director Werner Kreis says EIBTM provides delegates with many valuable networking opportunities. "What a great way to connect with industry people and find out what's new," he says. "EIBTM in Barcelona is an excellent vehicle for affiliates and affiliate managers to network and establish new and profitable relationships."

ASSOCIATIONS

MPI puts its stamp on the show

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) will have a heavy presence at this year's EIBTM show. The association is getting involved in networking events, will have its own stand at the show and is putting its name to the MPI Technology Village, which will showcase leading suppliers and products.

Paul Cook, president of the MPI's UK chapter, says the organisation will have a stand that represents all the international chapters. "We will be giving out the details of what will be coming up in future for each of the chapters," he says.

The association plans to hold a reception led by the Spanish chapter. "It's a good way for us to meet other members from around the world," says Cook.

He intends to use the show as a means of communicating details about the MPI European Meetings and Events Conference being held in London from 18-20 April next year. "We will be unveiling details of the educational programme during the show," he says.

MPI UK chapter member and EIBTM industry analyst Rob Davidson will be providing support with his research and the annual EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report, which is due to be launched at the show.

EIBTM's association programme is being run in conjunction with associations including MPI and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

ICCA chief executive Martin Sirk is a judge for the EIBTM Worldwide Technology Watch competition. "This is a great scheme that encourages technological innovation in our industry and I am delighted to be part of the 2007 judging panel," says Sirk. "It's particularly gratifying to see many past winners and shortlisted entries becoming widely accepted by our industry and making a real improvement to meetings of all kinds."

ICCA is also heavily involved in the Forum for Young Professionals, which gives 20 industry executives under the age of 30 a chance to gain valuable industry knowledge over four days immediately before EIBTM. "The forum is like fusion cuisine for young meetings professionals - more than a dozen nationalities thrown together from wildly different backgrounds demonstrating tremendous creativity and enthusiasm, and guided by the solid business experience of the faculty," says Sirk. "It adds up to a uniquely flavoured educational experience that participants constantly enthuse about."

NEWCOMERS

First-time exhibitors

EIBTM has seen a significant rise in new exhibitors attending this year and many returning exhibitors increasing their stand space. Newcomers include Chile Tourism, Ebaser, Prestige Hotels of the World, Easia, Travel Connections and Vincci Hotels.

In addition, a number of major European cities, including Munich and Birmingham, have confirmed standalone representation at EIBTM for the first time.

Ian Taylor, commercial director at Marketing Birmingham, which operates Birmingham Convention Bureau, says the decision to take on an independent stand reflects an increased focus on attracting international business to the city.

"Research has revealed that the events industry in the West Midlands is worth a staggering £6bn to the regional economy and £2.3bn in Birmingham alone," he says. "It is therefore clearly essential that we continue to grow this area and attract more high-profile events to the city. Our decision to exhibit in Barcelona reflects our confidence in Birmingham's credentials as a leading events destination and in its ability to attract international acclaim."

Myanmar intends exhibiting for the first time, as does the China National Tourist Office.

Vietnam will also appear for the first time at EIBTM this year. Vietnam Airlines MICE manager Nguyen Thuy Phuong says the carrier's decision to exhibit comes in the wake of Vietnam's growing popularity as a C&I destination. "Recently, Vietnam has been recognised as one of the most appealing destinations for meetings and incentives in Asia and the Pacific," she says. "By attending EIBTM, we expect to successfully promote Vietnam as a new destination for meetings and incentives groups from European countries. We take this as an opportunity to provide clients with updated information on Vietnam as well as its tourism development, especially in meeting and incentive business, and we believe that our destination will catch the eye of potential clients."

Spanish exhibitors appear to regard EIBTM 2007 as a platform to showcase their offerings. Portaventura, Madrid Espacios y Congresos and Casa Llotja de Mar are among those increasing their presence this year.

Following a break, Visit Florida, New Zealand, Zacchera Hotels, Global Events Partners and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts will be returning to EIBTM this year.

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